Home is Where the Heat ISN’T

More shenanigans from the universe.

I planned to make a gigantic batch of oatmeal raisin cookies so the little people would never feel the disappointment of an empty cookie jar.

I’m on schedule with freshly made mango black cherry ice cream (a flavor request) chilling in the freezer.

Everything was going according to plan until I turned on the oven to preheat and nothing happened.

No heat, no nothing. The panel showed that it was on and preheating, but there was no heat.

UH OH. Those cookies aren’t going to bake themselves.

I was stuck with a batch of cookies all ready to go on two baking sheets with the rest of the mixture in the refrigerator waiting their turn, along with a batch of granola for my son.

I WAS IN PANIC MODE.

NOTNOWNOTNOWNOTNOWNOTNOW

No oven means no baking, no pizza, no lasagna–and that totally stresses me out because this grandma loves nothing more than to watch my kids and grandkids eat the food I lovingly prepare.

It’s a win-win for all of us!

I ran next door to my very very nice neighbors who fired up their oven so I could bake the cookies, (for the price of a few for them to eat, which is a fair exchange, an easy quid pro quo).

The cookies baked just fine, but the granola burned to a crisp. OMG, that’s never happened before.

The oven repairman is coming tomorrow and hopefully it’s not a major issue, but I have no idea what’s wrong.

Dear Universe,
Why? Why now?

Best Ever #Vegan Snickerdoodles

I had a hankering for some old fashioned Snickerdoodles just like I used to bake with my mom, only vegan this time.

I’ve been asked, so to clarify…yes, this is my pic I took of the just-baked Snickerdoodles, not a random Google photo.

I realize that a majority of my recipes are zero sugar and include all forms of kale and tofu and lentils; healthy and organic for the Angels, but they’re not here right now and I have truly eaten enough kale to last several lifetimes, haha.

I developed this recipe after doing tons of online research. The internet offers dozens of variations; some recipes include flax seeds, coconut sugar, and spelt/oat/amaranth/chickpea flours (including gluten free)–but I prefer to keep things simple.

My philosophy is that more people might want to try a vegan lifestyle if it’s not too complicated. At least at first, and then as one delves deeper into cruelty-free living, it’s fun to experiment with more exotic ingredients.

Gather ingredients; Cream of Tartar is the key to snickerdoodle’s unique flavor. I know it’s against all the rules to use Crisco shortening, but once in a while is OK, and it’s awesome for cookie texture.

I didn’t think anything could be better than my Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies, but I was blissfully happy with the results of these crackly, chewy, intensely cinnamon-y full moon shaped pillows of satisfying spicy sweetness. (But not too sweet.)

If you have patience, let them cool for about ten minutes before eating, but if you’re anything like me, you won’t be able to wait. I hope you try them and let me know your results.

My friend is going to drop off a bottle of imported vanilla so I’ll make them again, but I might still use the maple syrup because the maple flavor really enhanced the spicy cinnamon profile.

Caution: I go HEAVY on the cinnamon because I love it so much. If you don’t, adjust the amount to be mindful of your own tastebuds.

The BEST Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies

I have a friend who keeps bugging me to bake something so I decided to develop a vegan chocolate chip cookie recipe.

My favorite kind of chocolate chip cookie is one that is 90% chocolate chips bound together by as little cookie dough as possible. The cookie dough is merely a vehicle to transport as many chips in my mouth as possible.

I think I achieved that today with this vegan recipe.

Assemble all ingredients first, this really saves time. I ran out of sea salt, so I had to use this kind…You could use coconut oil instead of veggie oil, but you’d have to melt it first, and I’m allergic to coconut and don’t really like it anyway. Another option is to use shortening or vegan butter, which is more traditional, and then it would be necessary to first cream the butter with the sugars.

(Recipe below with a cool Canva template.)

Combine sugars and wet ingredients.

Add dry ingredients and chips. Of course you can add fewer chocolate chips if you choose, or add nuts.

Cooling on the rack. I can’t wait to try them!

YUMMY. Crispy on the outside, chewy and sublimely chocolatey all the way around. Pretty much the PERFECT vegan chocolate chip cookie!

[pah-tay-toe] Confessions

“GRANDMA ATE ALL OF THE POTATOES!”

I don’t care how you pronounce it, but I need to share my secret love for potatoes and there’s a recipe at the end.

Specifically, the much maligned WHITE potato: simple, sturdy, earthy.

On the last day of my most recent visit to the Angels, sadly, a very long time ago, DIL thoughtfully made a special going home dinner for me, all from scratch by the way, which made it even more wonderful.

There was vegan lasagna with a side of roasted potatoes and apple crumble. The lasagna was made with chard and kale from the garden and was SO VERY YUMMY and healthy.

Apparently (and rightly so) she thought I didn’t eat white potatoes because for the longest time, I would scowl at anything white: white rice, white flour, white sugar, white potatoes–as the source of empty calories, zero nutrition, and a great friend of diabetes. Not too healthy.

From the oven there emanated a most delicious perfume. I asked DIL what I was smelling and she said, “It’s roasted potatoes but you don’t have to eat them. I know you don’t like white potatoes.”

Not so fast, DIL.

I want to not like them, but I’m addicted to French fries (has anyone ever seen me hoard them? It’s not a pretty sight.) I actually dearly love white potatoes, but I try NOT to eat them and have some semblance of self control, like I say I don’t eat chocolate, only because I have no off switch. Once I start eating chocolate, I can’t stop. I don’t ever have any around because of my lack of restraint, which is also the reason why I buy Halloween candy like Skittles and other stuff I don’t like so I won’t be tempted.

OK, enough of the sidebar; back to the story of the roast potatoes.

Dinner was ready and we were setting the table. I was actually STARVING and had most likely once again forgotten to eat for the entire day.

DIL handed me a bowl of roasted potatoes and before they even reached the dining room table, I had eaten EVERY SINGLE ONE.

I brought the empty bowl into the kitchen and asked DIL where I could get seconds. She took one look at me and the empty bowl and started laughing.

“That was a sharing bowl! Did you eat all of them?”

“Well, yes, oops, sorry! I didn’t know they were for sharing!”

“T, Grandma ate ALL the potatoes!”

“YOU DID? HEY DAD, GRANDMA ATE ALL THE POTATOES IN THE SHARING BOWL! SHE REALLY DID!”

I hadn’t tasted anything so delicious in FOREVER; OMG they were so good, I’ve been thinking about them ever since I came home.

And by the way, I had never heard of the term “sharing bowl” before that day. It must be a British thing, as DIL is from the UK.

I finally broke down and bought two WHITE IDAHO potatoes and since it’s a bit rainy today and not devil hot, I’ll attempt a recreation of DILs heavenly dish. I’m even going to add salt and that’s also something I rarely do.

They tasted pretty yummy, but to be honest, not quite as good as DILs, but maybe that’s because it’s such a treat for me to have someone else cook, ‘cos I usually have that job.

I’m not sharing these, either!

BEST Vegan Chocolate Cookies

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They really are!!!

For no other reason than I felt like a personal challenge, I went for about two weeks without eating ANY sugar.

No cookies, no cake, no pie, nothing sweet at all.

But last night, I had had enough. Even though I didn’t experience any withdrawals or anything, I felt like if I didn’t eat some chocolate, I’d lose my mind.

I didn’t feel like going to the grocery store ‘cos I think it’s fun to experiment with ingredients on hand–and this is what I created.

I’m happy to report that they’re absolutely delicious! The cookies puffed up and then became all crackly just like I hoped they would, so satisfying with a cuppa. Crisp and chewy. YUM.

P.S. These is a a perfect basic recipe. Add whatever you want: chocolate chips, nuts, coconut, chia/flax seeds.

Best Vegan Chocolate Cookies

  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons pure maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup coffee or a non-dairy beverage of choice
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Mix oil, sugar, maple syrup, vanilla, and liquid. Add all the dry ingredients and combine to make a pliable dough. If it’s a little dry, add a bit more liquid.

Roll dough into walnut-sized balls and place on two parchment lined baking sheets. Flatten slightly with fork.

Bake for 10-12 minutes.

 

You heard right…I did say Vegan Lentil Kale Cookies

BF607BA9-C66F-4599-B127-A6B2A94341DFAnd they are DELICIOUS, much to even my surprise, haha.

I was playing around in the kitchen this morning and thought I’d challenge myself to experiment baking with only the ingredients I have in my pantry.

There’s not much food here, but that’s a sad story for another day. (I can pinpoint the exact date and time that my love for cooking and baking was destroyed like an atom bomb.)

Anyway…

I thought these cookies were going to be making the short journey from oven to compost BUT they surprised me, so I thought I should share the recipe before I forget. If you try them, let me know what you think.

Vegan Lentil Kale Cookies

Lentils (cooked)-one cup
Kale-1/2 cup raw (freshly picked from the garden.)
Banana-one, mashed
Oil-1/3 cup
1/3 cup agave plus 2 tablespoons maple syrup
Chia seeds-2 tablespoons
Raisins-1/2 cup
Oats-1//2 cup (oat flour, I make my own, so easy. 1/2 cup oats in the blender or Bullet or food processor, takes just a few seconds.)
Whole wheat flour-1 cup
Baking powder-1/2 teaspoon
Pinch salt
Cinnamon-1 teaspoon
Vanilla-1 teaspoon

If you don’t already have some leftover cooked lentils like I did, cook 1 cup of lentils with 2 cups of water until soft, about 20-30 minutes or until all the water is absorbed.)
Let cool.

Place one cup cooked lentils in bowl.
Combine the kale and the oil in a blender/Bullet/food processor. Blend until a smooth slurry.
Add to lentils.
Add agave/maple syrup, vanilla, raisins, chia, and all other ingredients.
Mix until flours are well incorporated.
Let chill in refrigerator a few minutes until the oven is heated to 375 degrees.

Using a teaspoon, place about two inches apart on baking sheet. Flatten with a fork coated in flour so it won’t stick.

Bake for about 17 minutes until bottom is golden brown and the top is firm.
Let cool on wire rack.
YUM!

***Options: Of course if your pantry is more well stocked than mine, you can def add grated apples, coconut, and other dried fruit and nuts.

 

 

 

 

Super Moist #Vegan Chocolate Cake With Amaretto Coffee Frosting

Since I now focus most of my baking to please Angel Boy 2.0 (the new and improved version), this was the winner of all the chocolate cakes I ever created, so I thought I’d share it again for those of you who do still currently turn on the oven and combine ingredients to conjure up lovely confections (not confessions).

At 15 months, AB 2.0 can’t have chocolate; for now he’ll have to be happy with sugarless teething biscuits and kale smoothies. 


No eggs and no dairy, yet this cake is super moist, fluffy, and fudge-tastic — with a hint of French roast coffee and almond-y Amaretto.

vegancakeTEXT

I was inspired by a recipe I found in my mom’s old cookbook — as always, I transformed it into my own version.

I know I use Amaretto a lot, but I ran out of vanilla and it’s a great flavor enhancer with chocolate and coffee.

Moist #Vegan Chocolate Cake With Amaretto Coffee Frosting

  • 1/2 tsp.  salt
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1/3 cup cocoa (unsweetened)
  • 1 1/4 cups flour (all-purpose)
  • 1 tsp. white vinegar
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract (or Amaretto or Grand Marnier)
  • 5 Tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 1 cup cold coffee or water (coffee is better with chocolate) or you could always use soy/almond/cashew/coconut milk.

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

1. Mix the first five dry ingredients in a bowl.
2. Make three shallow depressions in the dry ingredients.
3. Pour vinegar in one, vanilla/amaretto in the other, and vegetable oil in the third.
4. Pour coffee/water over all.
5. Mix well until smooth.

Grease a nine-inch pan. Bake on middle rack of oven for approximately twenty-five to thirty-five minutes.  Check with toothpick to make sure it comes out clean. Don’t over bake or it’ll dry out. Cool and frost.vegancake4

Amaretto Coffee Frosting
Three tablespoons softened vegan butter substitute (I use Earth Balance)
Three or four tablespoons cocoa
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
Amaretto or Grand Marnier or vanilla
Cold coffee

In a medium bowl, sift sugar and cocoa. Blend with vegan butter. Add 2 teaspoons Amaretto or other flavoring, and 3 tablespoons cold coffee, Blend until desired consistency. If too dry, add more coffee or Amaretto. If too wet, add more powdered sugar.
Frost cake and dust with sifted cocoa.

vegancake3

How to Bake This Seriously Easy Rustic Savory Uber Crusty Olive/Jalapeno/Garlic Bread

This is bread heaven.

Crusty golden on the outside, chewy texture studded with olives, jalpenos, and garlic on the inside.

OK, listen to me. There is NO reason why you can’t recreate this masterpiece of textures and mouthwatering goodness.

If you think baking bread is beyond your skill set, think again.

Can you toss a few ingredients in a bowl, go away for a couple of hours, and throw a few olives and other things on top of the dough and mold it into a round shape?

Can you?

Of course you can.https://enchantedseashells.files.wordpress.com/2015/03/olivejalapenogarlicbread1.jpg

 

It’s so easy — not rocket science — and I guarantee success.

homemade bread recipe

Seriously Easy Rustic Savory Olive/Jalapeno/Garlic Bread

3 cups all purpose flour
1 package regular active yeast
1 1/4 cups warm water
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon olive oil just for the rising bowl)

1 cup rough chopped olives (pitted)
2 jalapeños
3 cloves garlic

1. You can either sauté the jalapeños and garlic for a few minutes or leave them raw; it’s your choice. I used pickled lalapenos and garlic ‘cos I had them in the pantry.

2. In a large bowl, combine flour, yeast, salt, water. If you have a mixer with a dough hook, mix until it comes together in a wet ball. Add a bit more flour if it looks too wet, but you don’t want an overly dry dough.

3. If you’re doing it all by hand, old-school style, use a wooden spoon and put some muscle into it.

4. When it comes together, flour a cutting board and knead for a bit; this is a rustic bread so it doesn’t have to be perfect.

5. Oil a bowl with the reserved olive oil, place the dough in bowl, cover with a plastic bag, and set aside in a warm place to rise for a couple of hours. It helps to blanket the bowl with a towel, too.

6. After you can see the dough has doubled in size, turn the dough onto a floured wooden board. With your hands, roughly press the dough into a circle.

7. Add half the olives/jalapenos/garlic.

8. Fold the dough in half and gently press again to a rough circle.

9. Add the rest of the ingredients and form the dough into a ball shape.

Not so different than Play-Doh, right?

10. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

11. Dust the baking sheet with a teaspoon or so of cornmeal or flour.

12. Let rise again for about thirty minutes.

13. Toward the end of this second rising, preheat oven to 400 degrees.

14. Using a sharp knife, cut an X-shaped slit across the top of the dough.

15. Bake about forty minutes until the top is golden brown.

16. What I like to do toward the end of baking time is to take the bread off the baking pan and place directly on the rack to bake for another five-seven minutes. This ensures a completely even crunchy crust.

17. Take out of the oven, place on cooling rack.

It’s very important not to cut into it too soon! I know it’s hard to wait, but sometimes it’s a good idea.

Serve with homemade lentil soup and a fresh garden salad; this is truly bread heaven.olivebread3

Enjoy!

I’d like to hear from you if you try it. I taught tugboat man how and he didn’t think it was too difficult.

Best 100% Whole Wheat Bread Recipe

Easy+Spectacular 100% Whole Wheat Bread

Without a doubt, THIS is the absolute BEST 100% whole wheat bread I’ve ever made.

I have a Kitchen Aid stand mixer, but you can use a hand mixer with the bread hook attachment. And if you don’t have that, you can go totally old school with a big bowl, a wooden spoon, and get a great upper body work out. Sometimes I still make bread that way just to prove to myself that I can.

Easy + Spectacular Whole Wheat Bread 

One cup warm water (not too hot)
1/4 cup orange juice (I used fresh squeezed)
One packet yeast
1/4 cup agave syrup (honey or molasses works, too)
1/4 cup vegetable oil
3 1/2 cups 100% whole wheat flour, approximately.
One teaspoon sea salt

Mix water and orange juice plus agave in large bowl. Sprinkle yeast on top; stir.

Cover with a cloth for a few minutes to allow the yeast to bloom.

All at once, add, oil, THREE cups of flour, and salt.

With paddle attachment, mix for about three or four minutes. Switch over to the bread hook attachment and knead approximately 8-10 minutes, adding the last 1/2 (or so) cup flour a little at a time.

When the dough begins to form a ball and pull away from the sides, turn it out onto a floured board and knead by hand until it’s soft and pliable, not sticky.

Oil a bowl for rising, add dough, cover with plastic, and then cover with dishcloth. Let rise until it doubles in size. I like to find a non-drafty location like the oven or on top of a dryer.

When it’s doubled (about two hours), punch down gently and let sit on floured cutting board for a few minutes. Here’s my quick technique for shaping bread for a loaf pan.

Pat the dough into a rectangle — you don’t need to measure or be all OCD about it…

Fold in half. Starting at the folded side, roll into a cigar shape, pinch the edges closed, and pop into a loaf pan.

Try not to use too much extra flour ‘cos that will make it tough and dry.

Let it rise again for about thirty minutes or until the bread rises above the rim of the pan. Toward the end of the rising time, preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Bake about thirty-forty minutes, checking to make sure it doesn’t become too brown. You can always cover the top with a piece of aluminum foil the last five minutes or so of baking.

When it’s done, let it cool for five minutes in the pan, then turn the bread onto a rack to finish cooling. Tap the bottom of the loaf with your fingers to see if it gives off a hollow sound. Then you know for sure it’s done.

Does this sound very tedious and time consuming? Just do it a couple of times, and it’ll be come second nature to you.

Homemade bread is SO much superior to store bought, chemical and preservative-laden bread. The texture of this bread is finely grained and tender; almost cake-like.easy+spectacular100%wholewheatbread1

#vegan

The Best Chocolate Frosting Recipe EVER #baking #Nocciolata

My own creation: Princess Rosebud’s Nocciolata Amaretto Buttercream Frosting.

“This was your best cake EVER” That’s what my family said. It was unanimous. Tugboat man, Angel Boy, DIL. Super chocolate-y and nutty, everything they love.

So Good. So Organic. Creamy, Dreamy Nocciolata.frosting4It’s actually quite simple. Quality ingredients produce superior taste. Only certified organic ingredients go into each jar of creamy, dreamy Nocciolata.

That means no chemicals, no artificial flavors, no GMOs, and absolutely zero palm oil.

nocciolata hazelnutspreadThey use only carefully selected ingredients like dark chocolate from the Antillean Islands, Italian hazelnuts (16%), brown sugar, skim milk, and Bourbon vanilla extract.

Enjoy Nocciolata any time of day. Try it in the morning on toast, or on a crusty bread for a delicious afternoon snack.

***My son’s fave snack is a regular-sized flour tortilla generously spread with Nocciolata. Simply roll and enjoy!

It tastes very similar to Nutella with a well-balanced chocolate and toasted hazelnut flavor, but when it comes to texture, Nocciolata stands alone.

I was sent product to sample and review. As always, I received no compensation, and all opinions are my own.

Nocciolata is the perfect special ingredient for cakes, crepes, cookies, muffins, and many more recipes.

I baked a standard yellow layer cake (from scratch of course) as a canvas for my invention: Princess Rosebud’s Nocciolata Buttercream Frosting.  It was THE BEST.


Princess Rosebud’s Nocciolata Buttercream Frosting

  • 1/3 cup soft butter (this is not vegan but you can use Earth Balance)
  • 2 cups sifted powdered sugar
  • 4 tablespoons Nocciolata
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa
  • 1 tablespoon cold coffee
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon (or more) Amaretto

Cream butter, add Nocciolata. Sift powdered sugar with cocoa. Add and mix slowly until it’s completely incorporated (or your kitchen will end up covered in sugar haha.) Add coffee, vanilla, Amaretto. Whip until creamy and smooth. Try not to eat it all before your cake is frosted!

frosting2

nocciolata frosing

Add a ring of ground almonds. Simple. Elegant. Scrumptious.frosting4

It tastes very similar to Nutella, with a well-balanced chocolate and toasted hazelnut flavor, but when it comes to texture, Nocciolata stands alone.

Would you like to win a jar? All you have to do is visit their website here.